Urgent action to protect those most vulnerable to climate change is among consensus priorities of Caribbean and Latin American ministers for the environment who met here yesterday, Minister Trevor Prescod has said.
The two-day Intersessional Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of Environments of Latin America and the Caribbean, hosted by Barbados at the Hilton Resort, was described as a success by Prescod.
In what he said was one of the largest turnouts by regional environment ministers, the meeting agreed that work ought to be done to boost the region’s ability to bounce back from the worst effects of climate change while educating people on the reality of the crisis.
Declaring that the days of pointless talk shops with no follow-up action was a luxury which could no longer be afforded, Prescod said that it was the consensus of the forum that urgent action was needed to protect the most vulnerable.
In a post-conference interview on Wednesday, Prescod said: “We felt that we need to develop an educational programme to sensitise the population both in Latin America and the Caribbean, to make everyone aware that climate change is real and that it cannot be wished away.
“We made it clear that while we will suffer, the persons who would feel it the most are those living in poverty-stricken areas.
“We need to build resilience across sectors, protect the most vulnerable among our populations, and advocate to hold accountable, those most responsible for dangerous climate change.
“This is critical if we are to avoid global temperature increases above I.5 degrees Celsius. We simply do not have the luxury of debate or time.”
The Environment Minister, who as president of the forum chaired the meeting, called for the establishment of a special committee to ensure that decisions taken are implemented, as the concerns are too critical to languish on the backburner.
Echoing a frequent lament since the increased ferocity of hurricanes in recent years, Prescod noted that according to the last Global Environment Outlook’s Assessment for Latin America and the Caribbean, the region currently accounts for only five per cent of global Greenhouse Gas emissions, yet the region continues to bear the brunt of the effects.